As the head of the Angus Reid Institute, Shachi Kurl uses data to consider today’s most critical questions. The non-partisan research she oversees reveals startling truths about how our values, beliefs, and priorities shape both the future of our country, and the current reality of our lives. In her frank and compelling talks, Kurl shares how to get to the heart of our major cultural, economic, and political shifts—and find common ground during times of upheaval.
When The Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail or The National Post want to understand everything from the public perception of Justin Trudeau, to the meat consumption of millennials, they turn to Shachi Kurl. As the Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Kurl has a remarkable grasp on what we’re collectively thinking about society’s most pressing issues. One of North America’s premier nonpartisan, nonprofit research and public polling organizations, the Institute helps debunk harmful myths and expand public knowledge in a meaningful way. Kurl, having spent the first half of her career as a political reporter, brings nearly two decades of public policy expertise to her role, and has even been sought by policymakers to testify before the House of Commons. Today, she is regularly called upon by the media for her unique insights, including on CBC’s At Issue, Canada’s most watched political panel.
Kurl is a recipient of the prestigious Jack Webster Award for Best TV Reporting. Along with former Australian and UK Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and Margaret Thatcher, she is an Alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. She holds a degree in Journalism and Political Science from Carleton University.
Where Are We Headed? And Where Are We Now? An Informed Look at Today’s Most Important Issues
As a keynote speaker, Shachi Kurl takes a “kitchen table” approach to discussions of economic, cultural, and political exigency. That means she’s an expert at breaking big, complicated ideas down into everyday language, and showing groups and individuals why they matter. Jobs, health care, immigration, education, US/Canadian trade and political relations, all the way to the state of social media, entertainment, and access to technology—no topic is too large, or too broad. And she does this with humor, disarming charisma, and the timeless appeal of informed, insightful commentary.
As the Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Kurl looks at the ripples, waves, and major tides of public opinion. And as a leading nonpartisan research organization, Angus Reid isn’t beholden to private or government interests; in fact, it isn’t beholden to profits, period. Which means Kurl can guide and frame the narrative around issues that pull us together, free of obligation to some third-party guiding her hand. It also means she can debunk harmful myths that could otherwise have serious consequences. Why? Because these issues matter; because they matter to ordinary people who are concerned about their future; and, sometimes, simply, because it’s good to know! So pull up a chair to Shachi Kurl’s frank kitchen table talk, and come away knowing so much more.
Women in Leadership Taking Professional Risks—and Getting Exactly What You Want
Today, women still encounter numerous obstacles at work. Old-boy networks, job segregation, a pernicious, stubborn pay gap, sexual discrimination, and other hurdles are still very much a part of daily life. But there’s another impediment to equity and success, argues Shachi Kurl, and often unique to women: and that’s a “risk-averse” mentality, instilled from an early age and usually difficult, but not impossible, to erase.
In this talk, perfect for professional women—or anyone looking to gain insight, improve gender inequalities, and get inspired—Kurl outlines her own unconventional career path in the worlds of media and policy. Moving from bullied kid to television journalist to lobbyist to pollster with Angus Reid, Kurl has learned that attaining professional success as a woman has meant gaining an appetite for risk—and that means learning how to negotiate with confidence and to ask for what you really want. With humor and charm, she encourages people of all genders to know their worth, know when to say ‘no,’ and never, ever be afraid to say ‘yes’ to amazing opportunities.
What Makes Us ‘Canadian’? Multiculturalism, Accommodation, & Integration in Today’s Canada
As Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, Shachi Kurl was instrumental in conducting a wide-ranging study of the “values, beliefs, priorities, and identity” of Canadians in 2016. The results offered a surprising portrait of the way we think about cultural integration. Despite 40 years of official multicultural policy, Canadian beliefs have indeed changed: the majority now favours domestic prosperity over responding to the needs of people in crisis around the world. Fewer Canadians support multiculturalism as a concept. And more would prefer to see immigrants do more to fit in with mainstream culture, even at the expense of keeping their own customs, languages, and beliefs.
However, these results don’t mean Canada is no longer an accepting place. In this keynote, Shachi Kurl offers a fascinating, data-informed reflection on belonging and diversity in Canada. Drawing upon her own background as a first generation Canadian, Kurl speaks on what our social contract really means (and how it's evolved). Ultimately, Kurl argues, Canada is still a place that embraces newcomers and celebrates cultural differences. But this recognition doesn’t mean we aren’t striving for some measure of cultural connectivity. We are, as Kurl reveals, a deeply practical people; and everyone has a role to play in building a thriving and cohesive nation.